When the COVID pandemic swept into our lives community and everything we associate with it, began to take on new meanings and importance. What we know as normal life bonding in family and social gatherings has changed to loneliness and isolation.

The word community has suddenly become more powerful because of the essential part it plays in our lives. What we get so much out of and for the most part take for granted, has now become sorely missed.

When we have belonging in our lives through family and community, we are motivated by things that make us feel good about ourselves, we seek to make the most of our lives and maximise our potential. When belonging is threatened our deepest fears emerge. Suddenly the panic of simply not being able to put food on the table becomes more prevalent.

Engaging in belonging and community is second nature to us, going around to a friend’s house for dinner or a walk down to the park to chat through life’s events and problems, is the world of community life and support we enjoy. But now it’s changed or even gone as we know it, safety and support are replaced by fear and stress.

Now more than ever, the little things count. Love is expressed in different ways, like using emojis for the first time when communicating with your daughter or zoom calls with family to celebrate Eid together.

At NZF we see our community’s pain growing with increased calls we receive for advice. We are seeing more people crying out for help. More people needing food, advice about relationships and ongoing financial help.

Some say the world has changed ‘since COVID’ and in many ways it has, but strangely enough, NZF sees that some things have become stronger. One of those things is an appreciation of the importance of our community and the power simple gestures of help can have in giving people hope in a time of need.

We are privileged to be helping people through times of pain, isolation and fear with our programs. We have been addressing the needs of children and youth, family problems, emergency support, education, loss of employment, research and growth, and in essence, community welfare. Before COVID our programs were vibrantly in action in our community, now they are amplified by domestic pressure and financial hardship.

We are helping the most vulnerable in our community through Zakat and the help is going beyond financial assistance alone. It’s heartening to see the community still strong, supporting each other with programs of opportunity to up-skill, become job-ready, engage in mentoring services, Quran classes and much more.

Thanks to the community we are thankful to be part of, we are really understanding the meaning of the word and the power of giving to make a difference and change the tomorrows of our brothers and sisters, who need our help today.